PGA Championship - Round One
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Rory McIlroy rebounded from a poor start.

Justin Thomas squandered a good one.

Neither took advantage of relatively mild morning conditions in the first round of the PGA Championship while watching Tiger Woods get the best of both of them in their grouping.

McIlroy opened with an even-par 70 at TPC Harding Park and Thomas a 71.

“I felt like the course was there for the taking,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I definitely could have been a few shots lower.”

With Woods opening with a 68, all three ended their rounds looking up at Jason Day (65) with the morning wave finishing.

After opening with a birdie, McIlroy made three consecutive bogeys at his third, fourth and fifth holes (Nos. 12, 13 and 14). He looked he might be on his way to shooting himself out of a chance at his fifth major when he yanked his drive at the 14th left into some ice plants, took a penalty drop and scrambled just to make bogey.
“My bad shot this week with a driver has been right, so I was probably just guarding against that a little bit, and smothered it left into the hazard,” McIlroy said. “But ended up making a decent 5 from there. I was happy enough to walk away with a 5.”

McIlroy rallied with birdies at Nos. 16, 18 and 1.

“I sort of grinded it out, with how I hit it on the back nine,” he said. “Even par actually wasn't too bad.”

McIlroy is seeking to win his third PGA Championship. He won in 2012 at Kiawah Island and 2014 at Valhalla.

He’s looking to give himself more chances from the short grass the rest of the way.

“Need to hit a few more fairways tomorrow to try to attack some pins and get it closer, and not leave myself 4- and 5-footers for par all day,” McIlroy said.

Thomas, who ascended back to world No. 1 winning the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational last weekend, was 2 under through 11 holes when some shaky ball striking got the best of him.

He double bogeyed two holes coming home, his 12th and 16th holes.
Thomas wasn’t sharp off the tee. He hit just six fairways, with a couple ugly misses. He hit something close to a shank off the heel at the seventh, into the trees, leading to a one-stroke penalty when he had to use his provisional tee shot there. He made double after a two putt. His double at the third came after he knocked a greenside bunker shot over the green and couldn’t get up and down.

Thomas wasn’t available for comment after his round, but his frustration hitting too many shots in the rough was apparent.

McIlroy probably could have spoken for Thomas summing up Friday’s challenge.

“Just got to go work on it, and tidy up for tomorrow,” McIlroy said.

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